Coronavirus and Health Reform

Forbes

Critics of President Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis characterize it as knee-jerk, spur-of-the-moment, and grasping at any straw within reach. In fact, many of the executive actions we have seen in the past few days reflect a new approach to health policy that has been underway almost since the day Donald Trump was sworn into office.

These include the ability to be diagnosed and treated without ever leaving your own home; the ability to talk to doctors 24/7 by means of phone, email and Skype; and the ability of the chronically ill to have access to free diagnoses and treatments without losing their access to Health Savings Accounts. More.

Obamacare at Age Ten

Forbes

John Goodman writes: Many people lost the insurance they were promised they could keep. Many lost access to the doctor they were promised they could continue to see. Premiums have doubled. Deductibles have tripled. Provider networks are so narrow, people with serious health problems are routinely denied access to the best doctors and the best hospitals. More.

How Obamacare Made Things Worse for Patients With Preexisting Conditions

One of the strange features of the national health care conversation is how it has evolved. What is often referred to as Obamacare began as an attempt to insure the uninsured. In fact, the initial Congressional Budget Office estimates predicted the Affordable Care Act would be largely successful in doing just that. Yet it was the Senate’s Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, who identified the political problem with that goal early on. About 95% of those who vote already have insurance, Schumer noted. So Obamacare was promising to spend a great deal of money on people who don’t vote. More.

Kotlikoff: Why We’re Going Broke

The US has spent the entire post-war period running a massive and ever-growing Ponzi scheme that takes from the young and gives to the old. … The scheme has been and is being run by expanding take-as-you-go-financed Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid systems, by running huge official deficits, and by imposing a larger share of taxes on the young and a smaller share on the old. [It has] reduced the US’s national saving rate from 13% in the 1950s and 1960s to 3% in the last two decades. This underlies, in large part, a commensurate drop in the domestic investment rate, which was also 13% between 1950 and 1969 and is now running at 4%. The textbook predicted consequence? Lower median labor productivity and median real wage growth. More

Dangers in Nationalizing Health Care

Forbes

Thousands forcibly sterilized by the progressives in the early 20th century. Experimentation (by withholding treatment) on black males with syphilis in the mid century. Swine flu vaccine that killed people without preventing the flu in the 1970s. More.

Social Security Cheated 11,000 Widows Out of $130 Million

Forbes

That’s the estimate of the Office of Inspector General and it averages $10,000 a piece. Social Security personnel have been signing up widows for widow’s benefits and retirement benefits at the same time – thereby robbing them of much high retirement benefits they would have later qualified for if the paperwork had been done correctly. More

Goodman and Herrick: Obamacare Has Made Things Worse

Ignoring the tax subsidies (both at work and in the individual market), things have gotten worse for people with chronic health conditions – because of Obamacare. Premiums have doubled. Deductibles have tripled. And narrow networks exclude the best doctors and the best hospitals. The reason: Obamacare gives insurers perverse incentives to attract the healthy and avoid the sick. People with health problems are being mistreated because no health plan wants them.
John Goodman and Devon Herrick, study for the Heritage Foundation.

The Left Doesn’t Understand Health Care Prices

Forbes

What the Left Doesn’t Understand About Health Care Prices
If prices are the problem, why don’t they advocate price controls – requiring all providers to accept Medicare fees. If providers are making too much money, why don’t they advocate taxing provider incomes and giving patients tax rebates based on their medical expenses. These measure would be bad, but easy – much easier than trying to nationalize the entire health care system. More from John Goodman at Forbes.

Are Some Drug Prices Too Low?

When people think about drug pricing in the United States, they tend to think of the sky-high prices of some newer drugs. High prices do cause real problems. Some people in need may go without. People may also go without needed drugs because prices are too low. More.

Tax Law Changes: Good, Bad and Ugly

Forbes

The good: People can contribute to IRAs regardless of age, 401(k) balances can be converted into annuities and retirees can go another year and a half before there are required withdrawals from tax deferred accounts. The bad: heirs are required to withdraw deferred accounts more quickly (10 years). The ugly: industries that agreed to be taxed in order to fund Obamacare get their taxes rescinded, without any reform of the mess they helped create. More.